by Dave Hauser
feature in Open for Business
December 2015/January 2016 issue
Remarkable progress, yet much more work needs to be done.
The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce believe that a healthy downtown is important to business. It is an important symbol of our community's economic health, quality of life, and self-esteem. In addition, today, more than ever before, attracting and retaining talent to fuel new economic opportunities is vital. Cities with fun, active, vibrant downtowns clearly have a leg-up in attracting and keeping the creative class, the talent that will drive the next economy.
Downtown Eugene has made remarkable strides recently. With outstanding support from the City of Eugene, developers, DEI, the Eugene Chamber and many others there has been over $300 million invested in our downtown over the past five years. It is astounding to reflect on the long list of projects completed or are underway. These new investments have brought residents, students, businesses, people and positive energy to downtown.
While we are proud of what has been accomplished, we know the journey to a great downtown is far from complete. That is why our Chamber enthusiastically supports the proposed 2 East Broadway (2EB) mixed-use project. The proposed six-story, multi-use building would include market-rate apartments and open, accessible ground floor rental space. The project proposes to purchase the Broadway Plaza/Kesey Square from the City of Eugene.
- 2EB would build on the momentum currently underway in downtown. More housing and additional retail space are key to continued downtown progress.
- The corner of Broadway and Willamette represents the center of downtown Eugene and it currently only has three corners that are active year-round. 2EB will allow for greater, more inclusive activity at the main downtown intersection and in the process, helping to support he many new restaurants and retail businesses around it.
- While 2EB would displace underutilized public plaza in the core, downtown will see a net increase and improvement in public space with projects such as the new City Hall complete with a public plaza roughly twice the size of Kesey Square, a long overdue renovation of the Park Blocks, better use of the Hult Center Plaza and ultimately a new riverfront park as a component of the EWEB redevelopment
- The 2EB development team is made of local business people who are enduring champions of downtown Eugene.
Progress is rarely achieved without change. We believe that the 2EB projects represents the kind of positive change that can result in another important step in the journey toward a downtown that is fun, active, vibrant asset to attract and keep talent that drives economic prosperity.